HIV/AIDS information awareness among market women: a study of Olofimuyin market, Sango-Ota, Ogun State, Nigeria.

Author:Ilo, Promise Ifeoma
Position:Report
 
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Introduction

HIV/AIDS is one of the greatest natural challenges that has given humans concern in recent times. Idoko (2004) calls it a disease starting as a single infection at the point of contact and then progressing to a wasting disease known as AIDS. The pandemic is on a rapid global march. Some of the world's most populous countries are severely affected. Kanki and Adeyi (2006) observe that Nigeria has been devastated with an HIV/AIDS epidemic, with nearly a million people dead and more than two million children orphaned. According to them, the National Intelligence Council in 2002 identified Nigeria as one of the five countries expected to bear the heaviest burden of an HIV/AIDS epidemic. The number of people living with this virus is projected to be ten to fifteen million by 2010.This situation has an urgent need for effective prevention. Prevention will help reduce the loss of lives and adverse social and economic effects on the nation.

The National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) (2004) shows that more than 2.7 million Nigerians are presently living with the virus. Ejeagwu, Nwafor-Orizu, and Uhegbu (2007) aver that mere mention of the name conjures fear in the minds of people. Those at risk include those with multiple sex partners, commercial sex workers, people that need blood transfusions, such as sickle cell patients, and people who engage in tattooing and giving of tribal marks. The devastating effects of the disease are numerous, ranging from cost of HIV screening and economic loss to an increased burden on communities, psychological trauma, disruption of community life, the cost of preventive measures, increased number of AIDS orphans, and so on.

Government Intervention

Abdulsalami and Tekena (2006) observe that the first AIDS cases were diagnosed in Lagos in 1985 and reported at the international conference that took place the following year. This report resulted in panic in government circles. President Obasanjo hosted the first OAU summit on HIV AIDS in 2001 to map out strategies for its prevention and treatment. His next move was the formation of the National Action Committee on AIDS (NACA) which later gave birth to State Action Committee on AIDS (SACA) and Local Action Committee on AIDS (LACA). Other non-governmental organizations also started initiatives. These include national a network of people living with AIDS in Nigeria (NEPWHAN), the church action committee on HIV/AIDS (CACA), and Diocesan Action committee on HIV/AIDS (DACA).

Igbo (2005) observes that the devastating effects of the disease motivated local and international agencies to act with speed, vigor, and commitment. The main aim of the initiatives was to break down barriers to HIV prevention at the community level and support community-based responses, as well as providing prevention, care, and support interventions. Obasanjo (2000) maintains that the action against HIV/AIDS is carried to the interior parts of the country using workshops, campaigns, and seminars. Ndakotsu (2001) says that radio, television, and films are powerful ways of educating rural dwellers.

It has been observed that most of these campaigns concentrate more on cities where the rich and educated live. Most rural dwellers in Nigeria do not benefit anything from these initiatives and campaigns. Market women are a typical example of a part of the Nigerian populace marginalized in the dissemination of HIV/AIDS information. The fact that they leave their homes early and come back late cuts them off from the programs packaged for rural dwellers. Most are illiterate. The market environment is a major place to exchange information, since these women talk with their customers and colleagues. The researchers are uncertain if the various rural programs on HIVAIDS are really being extended to the market environments and if women in Olofinmuyin market, Sango Ota, are aware of the vital information needed for the prevention and management of HIV/AIDS.

Objectives of the Study

* To determine if market women in Olofimuyin market, Sango Ota have information about HIV/AIDS

* To determine if the rural programs on HIV/AIDS are being extended to women in Olofinmuyin market, Sango Ota

* To determine the sources of information available to these market rural women

* To establish the effectiveness of these sources

* To suggest ways of helping market women obtain relevant information in relation to HIV/AIDS

Literature Review

Information is the most potent weapon available for the prevention and cure of HIV/AIDS. Omagbemi and Omoyiwa (2004) maintain that the ability to generate information is not a challenge. The challenge lies in linking the information generated to the information people need to live a better life. Availability of information for every aspect of life helps create awareness and makes life worthwhile. Okpeke (1993) notes...

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